What Has ASHA Done for Us Audiologists Lately?

hearing aid shutterstockRecently, I was asked by a friend (another audiologist) why I belong to ASHA and what do they do for me? After all, they were the organization for speech-language pathology and really didn’t care about audiology except for the CCC-A, as believed by some. This led me to reflect on why I feel ASHA’s membership benefits me as an audiologist, focusing on the past few years.

Just in the last year, ASHA has provided me with a wealth of information related to reimbursement issues, which was developed in collaboration with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, the Directors of Speech and Hearing Programs in State, Health and Welfare Agencies, Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology, the Educational Audiology Association, and the American Academy of Audiology.

For me, the guidance for audiologists on reviewing third party payer provider contracts was a very timely and helpful reminder because—at that time—my practice was being approached by a number of entities to provide hearing aid services.

Another helpful resource was the question and answer document about the new Otoacoustic CPT Codes that gave me information on how to bill these codes appropriately. There was also information on new requirements for the Physician Quality Reporting System, which helped me too. Aside from these useful and helpful resources, I appreciate that the information was developed jointly and shared within the audiology community.

When I think about advocacy being a member benefit, I’m thankful for quite a few things that ASHA’s advocacy team has pushed for, including:

  • A comprehensive audiology benefit. This will allow me to provide the necessary rehabilitative/habilitative services to the people I serve. This proposal will recognize that audiologists are the best providers of these services. As health care moves toward prevention of health problems and a new payment system, this will allow me to provide therapy services as part of a team!
  • Legislation related to early detection of hearing loss. The outcome of that work has benefited so many of the children and families we serve.
  • Legislation that averted the proposed 20 percent cut in Medicare payments. These have been scheduled to take place every year for the last several years, but keep getting extended. I can’t help but think that ASHA’s lobbyists have been instrumental in helping in that effort.

ASHA’s ongoing advocacy for the profession of audiology has benefited me in so many ways. Recently, ASHA was very helpful working out the “kinks” in the federal employee health benefits hearing aid plan. ASHA is also developing and implementing plans to help us navigate through the new accountable care organizations.  And, they are working diligently to see that we have a voice in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

As I continued to think of all of the benefits from ASHA membership—as an audiologist—I realized there has been great value in continuing to be a member of ASHA!  I want to thank my friend for asking me why I still belong.

Stuart Trembath, MA, CCC-A, is chair of ASHA’s Health Care Economics Committee and co-owner of Hearing Associates in Mason City, Iowa.

ASHA’s Leadership Development Program Announces 2013 Cohorts

Graduation Cap

Photo by snowpeak

Do you aspire to expand and refine your leadership skills to drive change in your current work setting or even to become a leader within your state association or with ASHA? ASHA will once again offer its year-long Leadership Development Program (LDP) in 2013. The 2013 LDP will be focused on two different cohorts: Early Career Professionals and Speech-Language Pathologists or Audiologists in a School Setting.

Each program is limited to 30 participants selected through a competitive application process which requires applicants to submit a leadership statement as well as a description of a leadership project they’d like to pursue during the LDP.

The LDP program for Early Career Professionals will begin Saturday, May 4, with a kick-off workshop at the National Office in Rockville, Maryland. Applications for this cohort open October 9, 2012 and will close on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 3pm Eastern time. More information is available by visiting the ASHA website.

Speech-language pathologists or audiologists with 10 or fewer years of professional experience may apply to this year-long program that will develop their leadership skills. Preference will be given to members who belong to a Special Interest Group (SIG). Preference will also be given to past leaders of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA) who have no prior service on an ASHA or SIG committee, board, council, working group or task force.

Individual learning projects for the LDP for Early Career Professionals should be focused on showcasing leadership in one of the following areas:

  • Work setting
  • A related professional organization (college, university, association)

The LDP for School-Based Professionals will begin one day prior to the ASHA Schools Conference in Long Beach, California, on Thursday, July 11, 2013. Applications for this cohort will open January 24, 2013, and must be submitted by April 4, 2013 at 3pm Eastern time. This year-long program will develop essential leadership skills and help participants acquire knowledge and skills for future professional and volunteer growth. Preference will be given to members who are school based and belong to a SIG.

The LDP in Schools is open to any member who is school-based, including both speech-language pathologists and educational audiologists

Individual learning projects for LDP in Schools should be focused in one of the following key areas:

For more information on the Leadership Development Program, contact Haley Jones, volunteer operations manager, at hjones@asha.org.


Andrea Falzarano is Director, Association Governance Operations at ASHA.